The Relationship Between Life Satisfaction and Emotional Experience in 21 European Countries

  • Koeoets-Ausmees L
  • Realo A
  • Allik J
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In the current study, the relationship between life satisfaction (LS)
and the affective components of subjective well-being (SWB) was examined
in a sample of 40,487 people across 21 European countries using data
from the European Social Survey. After running multilevel confirmatory
factor analyses in order to establish the measurement invariance of the
constructs across the countries, the individual-level dataset was linked
to available country-level aggregate personality traits, cultural
values, and human development index (HDI). Results from hierarchical
linear modeling (HLM) analysis showed that LS is best predicted by
positive and negative affect (PA and NA, respectively), but may also be
predicted by the degree of mixed emotions (ME). At the country level,
national mean scores of Extraversion and Neuroticism moderated the
relationship between LS and ME in different directions, whereas neither
of the two personality traits had a significant impact on the
relationship of LS to PA and NA. Survival/self-expression and the HDI
ranking influenced the LS-PA and LS-ME relationships, whereas
individualism/collectivism did not. Our research indicates that in
addition to analyzing separate effects of NA and PA, it is also
important to consider emotional complexity in SWB research, whereas
these analyses need to take into account the moderating effect of
cultural aspects, such as survival/self-expression values and countries'
level of development. Our findings also emphasize the importance of
employing representative samples, as the age variance of participants
can have a profound impact on results.

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  • Liisi Koeoets-Ausmees

  • Anu Realo

  • Jueri Allik

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